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Chinese go home, power projects hit

delhi Updated: Nov 23, 2009 01:06 IST
Anupama Airy
Anupama Airy
Hindustan Times
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A shortage of 3,000 Chinese professionals could derail the addition of 30,000 mega watts to India’s power capacity, the ministry of power has warned. The reason: new visa norms imposed by the ministry of home affairs and the new labour norms by the ministry of labour and employment.

“A large number of power projects of 30,000 mw capacity are being constructed through Chinese companies,” said a November 17 letter to Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar by Power Secretary H.S. Brahma. “Chinese personnel working at these projects with business visas were repatriated. This has affected the construction and commissioning activities.”

Of these, projects of 4,000 mw “urgently require services of Chinese engineers for commissioning activities”, the letter said.

The Indian Embassy at Beijing is not issuing employment visas to Chinese engineers despite clearance from ministry of home affairs, Brahma said.

“More than 3,000 Chinese engineers and semi-skilled professionals working on business visas at various power project sites have been sent back,” a power ministry official said.

“The ceiling [the lesser of 20 professionals or 1 per cent of total workforce] appears to be very low,” a letter to Labour Secretary Prabhat C. Chaturvedi from Brahma stated. “I request you to exempt projects that have reached an advanced stage....”

“If a foreign national is employed in India, he must have the right kind of visa [full employment visa],” Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told HT.

Rakesh Nath, chairman, Central Electricity Authority, confirmed having received representations from private producers developing projects through the Chinese firms. These included V.S. Lignite Power, Wardha Power, Adani Power, CLP Power and KSK, he said.